Please welcome guest author Bette Lou Higgins. Higgins is a founder and current Artistic Director of Eden Valley Enterprises, where she helps spread the “Ohio Gospel” through an assortment of living history programs. These programs, designed to make the history of Ohio meaningful and alive for adults and children of all ages, have been created for such Ohio organizations as the Steamship William G. Mather Museum, Western Reserve Historical Society, The Tuscarawas Historical Society and the Great Lakes Historical Society.
When I first wrote about Eden Valley’s Grandma Gatewood project for Appalachian History in 2013, we were at the half-way point of our trail to tell her life story. Essentially it was the equivalent of hiking from Georgia to the AT museum in Gardner’s, PA. Unlike hikers who reach that point, we didn’t know we were half-way there!
But now, in just a couple of months, we’ll be premiering our Grandma Gatewood Documentary, TRAIL MAGIC, on May 29, 2015 at TrueNorth Cultural Arts in Sheffield Village, Ohio. The premier festivities will begin on Thursday, May 28 at 7p.m. with a special presentation of our storytelling program, GRANDMA GATEWOOD: OHIO’S HISTORIC HIKER, sponsored by the National Storytelling Network and Parkhurst Brothers, Inc. The red carpet goes out Friday at 7 p.m. with a showing of the documentary (sponsored by the Ohio History Fund), a meet and greet and a wine & cheese fundraising reception. I hope you can join us!
In the last two years A LOT has happened!
1. Our one-act play about Emma, TRAIL MAGIC, premiered at TrueNorth and then a new production of the play was produced at Wandering Aesthetics in Akron in November, 2014. Like the TrueNorth production, it ran to sold-out houses and garnered much praise!
2. Ruth Brown of the Buckeye Trail Association saw the Akron production and lobbied for a smaller version to be presented at their TrailFest on May 15, 2015. Grandma Gatewood was one of the founders of the Buckeye Trail, so this will truly be a special presentation. On May 16, I’ll be talking to the group about how this project developed since 2009. I hope you can join us there!
3. Of course, we’ve had a number of presentations of our storytelling program, GRANDMA GATEWOOD: OHIO’S LEGENDARY HIKER over the last few years and several more are coming up.
4. We’ve continued our campaign to raise funds to create the documentary. As of this writing we have met about 50% of our goal.
5. Most importantly, we’ve continued to film the documentary with Anne McEvoy playing Emma and adding more interviews of family, friends, historians and others connected with the Trail.
This May will mark the 60th anniversary of Emma’s record-setting hike. Our documentary will come out just in time to begin the celebration and hopefully introduce this feisty female to a larger audience! In the meantime – let’s all take a hike in Grandma Gatewood’s honor!
You can find complete information about Emma and our project on our website.
Both the storytelling program and the one-act play are available for presentation for other groups. The play is also available for other theatres to present. You may contact me for information about bringing this program to your group.